Tuesday, January 3, 2017

new year, new hobby

Yesterday I went bird watching.  There is a Christmas Bird Count sponsored by the Audubon Society, and I took part.  The group I was part of has been meeting for years here in town.  We met up in the morning at a restaurant, and then we were put into groups .  Each group was assigned to cover a certain part of the area surrounding town.  We drove around, looking for birds, sometimes stopping to see if a grove of trees had any birds.  We also stopped when an individual saw a bird.  Then those with binoculars would try to determine what kind of bird it was.  The surprise to me is that we saw eighteen unique species-despite it being in Minnesota in winter.  Some of those were three kinds of woodpeckers, at least one dark-eyed junco, snow buntings, two types of finches, lots of blue jays, six robins, two cardinals, along with some turkeys and pheasants.  It was good to go with others (I didn't know what a junco was and didn't have binoculars either), but bird watching might be my new hobby.  I like the idea of it, as I don't need to invest in a lot of stuff (probably just another bird guide and a set of binoculars).  It is also something I can do anywhere and it doesn't produce stuff, though I will likely start a notebook to track what I have seen as well as when and where I saw certain birds.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

If You Give a Mouse a Brownie

If You Give a Mouse a Brownie by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond is the newest book by the popular duo.  Written in the same style as the other books, Mouse wants more than what he has and continues to ask for one more thing.  I enjoyed this story more than If You Give a Cat a Cupcake or If You Give a Dog a Donut.  For those of you who liked the other books or have children who do, this is worth picking up at the library or the bookstore. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winter, Winter, Cold and Snow

Winter, Winter, Cold and Snow written by Sharon Gibson Palermo and illustrated by Christina Song is a good book to share with children this winter.  Each page depicts a forest animal and what they do in the winter.  It could be shared with preschool or grade school children regarding animal behaviors in a cold and snowy climate.  The repetitive line "Winter, Winter, Cold and Snow," reminded me of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  by Bill Martin Jr, though the vocabulary in this book is more complex than Martin's work.  It appeals to me as an adult because it is not overly simple and it reminds me of the uniqueness of winter in the northern United States and Canada.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Long Way Gone

Long Way Gone is Charles Martin's newest book.  It is the story of Cooper O'Connor, a gifted musician and a prodigal.  Cooper is 18 when he leaves his father behind and goes to Nashville with hopes to make it big.  Nothing turns out as he planned.  The day he meets Daley Cross is the day his life changes, though that too, is temporary.  This is a compelling story told from Cooper's point of view more than twenty years after the day he left home.  The characters are well developed and seem like real people.  The story of how difficult it is for a prodigal to go home was portrayed realistically.  I did not enjoy this book as much as I did Water From My Heart, also by Martin, but it is worthwhile read and would be a good book club choice.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Paper Things

I picked up Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson the other day at the library.  The story is told by eleven year old Ari.  She and her brother Gage lived with Janna as their guardian.  Gage is a nineteen year old who didn't want to live with Janna anymore, so Gage and Ari leave.  But Gage doesn't have a job or a place to live, so they depend on friends.  It seems like a realistic view of the difficulties of being homeless and trying to continue living a normal life.  This book would be good to read and discuss with middle school or high school students.  Though classified as juvenile literature, it is worth reading for anyone who works in a school system or with young people.   

Saturday, November 19, 2016

quilt camp

Last week I went to an organized quilt camp for the first time.  My sister Amanda was the teacher for the weekend.  While many people had their own projects to work on, I decided to try making the pineapple block that she showed.  It was good that I was at a class or I may not have ever really figured it out.  I made six blocks, then realized I am going to need more cream/white fabric prints. 

So I made a few other things, including this placemat that uses Good Neighbors fabric from Connecting Threads.  The back is some cute bunny fabric and scraps from my sister's stash.  When I finished, I decided that I liked the back better than the front.